Skills development – both internal and external – is a key aspect of our approach to social responsibility, given that operating successfully in a technical environment like ours depends on having a strong skills base. Our skills development strategy is aligned with the South African government’s focus on integrated workplace learning and skills development, and aims to develop a pool of the scarce and critical skills needed to enhance our own sustainability and that of our industry.
Currently, we are involved in a number of internal skills development initiatives, all of which have a strong bias towards uplifting the previously disadvantaged. These include bursaries, a graduates-in-training programme, apprenticeships (directed by a sector education and training authority and presented by an accredited training provider) and learnerships. In 2016, the average number of training hours per employee in Sappi Southern Africa was 70.5, with average training spend per employee amounting to approximately ZAR7,480 (US$509).